Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' with red flower buds
Skimmia japonica 'Rubella'
Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' is one of those great all-round garden plants. It was named and first described by the Paris based, French botanist Élie-Abel Carrière (1818 – 1896). It is a popular garden plants with will provide a gorgeous backdrop of evergreen foliage along with long lasting ornamental buds and blooms. Skimmia japonica is diecious meaning that male and females appear on different plants. Rubella is a male form meaning that it will not produce the red berries which are characteristic of this genus.

botanical image of Skimmia japonica
Skimmia japonica botanical drawing
The parent species is a variable, small dome-shaped shrub of dense habit. Native to Japan, China and southeast Asia, it was originally discovered for western science in Japan and brought under cultivation in England around 1838.

The selected cultivar 'Rubella' has aromatic, leathery obovate to elliptical leaves. Under favourable conditions it can be expected to grow to a height and spread of between 1-1.5 metres.

However it is particularly noted for its panicles of showy red buds which appear in late winter. The buds will remain tightly shut until spring when the white, yellow anthered, slightly fragrant blooms finally open in April and May.

You can grow Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' in either full sun or semi-shade, although it will produce a more open and lax habit the shadier the position. Be aware that the leave can become bleached in exposed, hot direct sun. Provide a sheltered site in a moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil. It will be fine in a neutral to acid soil but will also tolerate chalky soils so long as they been previously improved with well-rotted organic matter.

Skimmia japonica 'Rubella' received the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1962 and the Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

For related articles click onto the following links:

No comments: